I am wondering what to use as the floor of my new sandbox that is under
the kids play system. It is 5' x 5'. Do I want to use landscape fabric,
or make a wood floor? Thanks for the advice. Also, anyone have any
opinions on where to buy sand for the box? How much sand will be needed
to fill a 25 sqft box? What depth should I fill to?
When my father was planning on some
cement work around the house he had a
dump truck load of coarse masonry type
sand dumped on my sandbox. That pile
must have been six feet high and the
sandbox was probably five by ten feet.
It was great!
By the time all the cement work was done
that had dwindled to about a foot deep.
But it was still _much_ better sand than
the stuff commonly sold for sandboxes.
It 'stacked' better when moist. I used
to quarry under the dried sand to get
the stuff that was still moist ot use
for walls and bridges and such, stuff
you couldn't make with the sanbox sand.
OTOH, the sand sold for sandboxes is
supposed to be sterile, I'm quite sure the
stuff dumped on mine was not. Yes, the
cats used it. It was easy to spot where
they had buried their poop to excavate it
and toss it out in the yard. Again, not
very sanitary but those were more naive times.
When I built my daughter's sandbox (she's 17 now), I had purchased a
hardware kit from home depot. It included bracket/fasteners and a
colorful roof/awning for shade, etc., and then the builder buys the
lumber separately from the included materials list. I don't recall it
having any kind of floor, though. I do remember that I took some time
carefully placing the empty sandbox before filling it, so that the
sides were all in contact with the ground all the way around (scooping
away dirt and/or building up and/or shimming as necessary) so that it
was stable. Landscape fabric would seem like a good idea though.
Home Depot actually sells 50 lb. bags of "playground sand." It is very
fine sand, and of course, nothing was too good for my little girl!
Can't remember how many bags it took but there are ways of calculating
this. It was not expensive.
BTW, I agree with the poster who advised you to construct a cover for
it. Otherwise the sand gets pretty "yucky" pretty quickly. Enjoy the
project and when you're done don't forget to take the time to play in
the sandbox with your kids.
Odd timing - I'm just starting that project too. Tired of the kids using
the Garden as the "DMZ" or Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-Desert-of-Doom...
Norm's got an approach outlined in one of his books, but I plan on doing
a wood planked floor, then landscape fabric so the water has a place to
There *are* concerns now of the types of sand you put into the box.
Whether you buy the arguments or not - it should make sense to a
woodworker that any sand that has "dust potential to irritate a little
one's lungs" should probably be avoided. I found this link
http://www.safesand.com/information.htm , but no endorsement of the
content from me.
We're going to use pea gravel.
But there are sands out there targeted for sandboxes. Low silica content
I don't know what depth you or your kids might want, but here are a
couple of numbers from "Handyman In Your Pocket". Dry sand weighs 100
pounds per cubic foot. So your 5x5 box at a convenient one foot deep
would take 2500 pounds of dry sand (pretty close to one cubic yard [27
cubic feet and 2700 pounds]). Wet sand weighs 120 lbs/ft3, loose sand
Regards, PDX David
The problem with landscape fabric is that it's not very durable. As soon as
your kid gets the idea that he can dig to China, he'll tear right through
the fabric and end up with a muddy mess in the sand box. (Don't ask me how I
know this!!!) I'd build a bottom out of heavy plastic or treated plywood
with plenty of drainage holes. You might consider using that plastic lattice
they sell in 4x8 sheets. That would probably keep junior from penetrating
into the mud below, but would allow for plenty of drainage.
I used black plastic. 2x8 frame, formed the plastic over the edges,
pouring the sand in to fit it to the bottom of the frame, then screwed
1x2 to the top to hold it.
Ours was about the same square footage, and I filled it to the top of
the 2x8 with dry sand. The kids will get the hose into it and the sand
will compact. In hindsight, I'd use heavy landscape fabric to allow the
water to drain better. I had to punch holes through the plastic the
first time the kids turned it into "the beach".
Consider a top of some kind to keep the cat poop out. I bought a cheap
tarp and built a multi-piece frame from 1x2 and angle brackets, hinged
it together so it was a foldable unit that fit over the top. Easy to
get on and off, kept the rain out somewhat, and definitely kept the
cats from using it as a litter box.
I bought bags of play sand at the local lumber yard, but I don't have a
pick-me-up truck. 25 square feet is just under three square yards so if
you fill to 8 inches call it half a cubic yard to be safe. The guys at
the lumber yard will help you calculate and you can buy a couple of
extra bags. There's always a use for sand.
The advantage of the playbox sand is that it's clean and I used the two
bags I had left over to weigh down the lathe stand I built shortly
after the sandbox. <g>
Hope that helps...
~ Stay Calm... Be Brave... Wait for the Signs ~
On Tue, 02 Aug 2005 21:48:44 -0600, Dave Balderstone
With the desert environment, haven't had to use anything to keep stuff
from growing in the sandbox.
That's what the dog is for :-) Well, that and burying things like her
dog dish in the sand.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
I never had that problem in NE Ohio either. If the
sandbox gets much use, the kids will keep the weeds
pulled. I like the idea of a lattice to keep them
from digging into the dirt. I always stopped at the
dirt, but some might not.
Some have suggested a top that
raises to provide a sunshade.
One supposes it would be prudent
to design it so it cannot fall
hard on the kids by accident,
like if (someone else's of course)
kid decides to climb on top and
jump up and down.
On 3 Aug 2005 07:44:11 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I did the plastic bottom also. I figured out that yeah, you had to
poke a goodly number of holes in the bottom for drainage. I have never
had anything grow out of the sand (it is kept covered when not used),
but have had an enourmous number of roots grow up through the holes
and into the sand. I guess it is a lot easier to get water etc. in the
sand than in the rather hard clayish soil under it. My comments would
be to ensure good drainage away from the sandbox with maybe a below
grade level layer of pea gravel or other means to ensure the water
drains away from the sand. Then I would use the landscape fabric in
the bottom of the box before filling with sand.
Well, thanks for all the advice. I went with the heavy duty landscape
fabric for the bottom and I think it will do nicely. Now to get a nice
cover for it. The kids were playing as I was finishing building so I
think it will be a hit. I dropped 15 bags of the play sand in and will
add another 10-15 I think .
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